TELFORD VICE, Bulawayo
THE worst kept secret in SA cricket was revealed on Tuesday when the suits owned up to race quota selection at national level.
The news came in the form of a Cricket SA (CSA) release that said the organisation would “introduce targets for all the national teams”.
However, CSA admitted on April 18, 2015 – in the wake of the exposure of administrators meddling in the SA team that took the field in the World Cup semi-final – that the SA men’s team was picked according to “transformation guidelines which require the (selection) panel to consider, on merit, the election of at least four players of colour in the starting XI”.
Not that that is enough to meet sports minister Fikile Mbalula’s stipulation that at least 60% of all national teams should be comprised of black players, which was established after federations individually agreed memoranda of understanding with the ministry.
CSA have already been punished for falling short of that mark by 5%: Mbalula has barred them from bidding to host major tournaments until their transformation numbers add up.
So something seemed amiss with Tuesday’s statement, which quoted CSA president Chris Nenzani as saying: “In the past we had never set targets in our national teams but with changing circumstances we feel it is essential to move with the times.
“The precise targets will depend on work to be undertaken by relevant committees to determine what is realistic and sustainable. This will be announced in due course.
“We will aim to achieve our targets over the course of the year and not on a match-by-match basis.”
CSA will also try to revitalise their T20 tournament from the 2017-18 season. The plan includes the “separation of this competition from the other franchise competitions”, involves “an optimal number of eight teams” and will be played over four to six weeks with the final scheduled for December 16.
That’s a public holiday – the Day of Reconciliation. If only CSA could reconcile Tuesday’s statement with what they said on April 18, 2015.